Charlotte Balbier

invisible kisses. a glamorous, gatsby-inspired winter wedding in manchester – rebecca & james

July 25th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (30)

When Rebecca and James’ Christmas wedding dropped into our inbox we simply couldn’t believe our luck. In Rebecca we saw a kindred spirit: a girl hell-bent on gorgeousness, glamour, sequins and a festive berry lip. Plus, she tells a blummin’ good story, not just spilling all the pretty details (obvs) but also gets across a real sense of the laughter and love they shared with their guests on the day. All the goosebumps.

Our highlight? Well, that Ritva Westenius gown is a beauty – a slinky statement of a dress with a simple, timeless silhouette – and the gallery setting is something very special indeed –  but if the Brides Up North team could direct you to just one detail it would be that makeup. An education in how to do bridal glamour right there. You’re very welcome.

With images by Shane Webber.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (25)

rebecca says: We got engaged in 2015 while on holiday in Singapore (this makes us sound very extravagant – it was a treat!)  We were sitting drinking cocktails at the long bar in Raffles (as you do), munching away on the complimentary monkey nuts (as you do), when I looked down to see that one had a ring around it. Cue floods of tears from me for the next hour – the poor barmaid didn’t know what was going on. It was a complete surprise (although there may have been some, ahem, gentle encouragement from me in the months proceeding) and the happiest moment of my life (pre-wedding!)

Initially we looked at a September wedding, but struggled to match up availability of our venue and the registrar. I also had a niggling idea about a winter wedding that wouldn’t budge…after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and wails of “But I thought we’d agreed September!” I think it was actually James who first said “well, what about Christmas?” And that was that.  We had a hankering to do something just a little bit different and we both love the festive season, so it felt perfect.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (36)

We had both the ceremony and reception at the Manchester Art Gallery. We really wanted to get married in the city centre as it’s local to us, and we both love the paintings there.  We looked at a couple of other venues but when we went to look round the Gallery, James (not normally the world’s most effusive about these kind of things) turned to me and said: “I actually feel a bit excited!” I could’ve hugged the woman showing us around!  It’s a beautiful building inside and out and such a privilege to marry there.

We loved the idea of an elegant, glamorous theme with a touch of Gatsby. With the ceremony being later in the day at 4pm and the time of year, this theme worked really well.  We considered a black-tie dress code for guests but James wasn’t sure.  In the end our invites said: “It’s Christmas, it’s evening, so feel free to throw the glitter around and GO ALL-OUT GLAM’”.  Sums it up, really!

So the colours? Hints of gold, sequins and dark jewel shades for the best men.  And the ‘feel’? Glamorous, warm, festive. We wanted our guests to feel special and essentially have a fantastic pre-Christmas party!

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (33)

I chose a simple but elegant dress by Ritva Westenius from Isaac Charles in Poynton.  It was a sample on its own in the store and when I tried it on I loved how I felt in it.  Because of our theme I really wanted something that felt glamorous and luxurious (…and a bit sexy, as I said to my slightly bemused mum) The store and staff at Isaac Charles were lovely and I’d definitely recommend them to any brides-to-be.

A Christmas Wedding in Manchester (c) Shane Weber (18)

James, the best men and both our dads wore elegant white dress shirts, black trousers and velvet dinner jackets from Reiss.  The boys wore black and James’ was a dark blue just to stand out a little.  They all had contrasting silk scarves, pocket squares and bow ties.  I absolutely loved it; they all looked so handsome.  James was really keen for something a bit different but also a ‘non-traditional’ suit (that could be worn again for special occasions) and I think he nailed it.

The bridesmaids wore floor-length gold sequinned gowns from Jenny Packham at Debenhams.  I had such a strong idea of what I wanted them in that we ended up getting their dresses before mine. Thankfully, they liked them! They both looked so beautiful. Amina at Stockport Wedding Services did a great job with alterations for us all.

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Find Your Dream Wedding Dress… In A Click!

October 16th, 2012 | Julia Braime

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So. Cancel all plans and meetings for the rest of your afternoon.  Some favourite industry colleagues of mine have launched something rather special. 

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Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

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The wedding dress hunt never got easier than this!

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The team at Find Your Dream Wedding Dress say: this is a completely new concept, and the best idea ever. The minute he pops the question, and you have said yes, the search for your dream dress is underway.

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Find Your Dream Wedding Dress brings together, in one beautiful, easy-to-navigate site, a world of wonderful dresses from the top designers and manufacturers – hundreds and hundreds of them – covering all design options and price points. It focuses on bridal gowns, and nothing other than bridal gowns – no flowers, no venues, no best-man speeches. Just gorgeous gowns.

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It works so simply. Just pick out the features that really appeal to you. It could be a halter-neck, a cute fifties silhouette, a fabulous fairy-tale ball gown, or a slinky number with lots of vintage detailing. It could be glitter-loaded, or plain and simple. The choice is yours and you’ll see dozens of dream dresses that fit in with your ‘wish list’. Then you pop your favourites into your ‘dressing room’ and, if you want, you can go back for more choices by changing your criteria.

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Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

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Ready for a close up? Click on the dresses in your dressing room and you’ll get all the detail, from the fabric and colour options, size and price range, and personalisation opportunities to special design highlights – and that could include extras, like a sparkly belt or a lacy jacket. You’ll get different views of the gown and you’ll also get comments from the designer about what they like best about that particular style and why. What a great way to find out who’s who of the bridal gown designers!

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But that’s not where the fun stops. You’ll be able to check, right there and then, the bridal shops that carry the collections you have picked. One click and an email will go to the shop you select, to say you are interested in a particular label. And you can make an appointment instantly, by email, to see what could be your own dream wedding dress.

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Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

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My friend and colleague Rachel Morgan, editor of Wedding Ideas Magazine loves the idea too, and says: Searching for your dream dress is the most exciting part of the wedding planning. This amazing new website brings together hundreds of gowns from all over the world, and in every price bracket. You can quickly see the designers and the details you like, whittle down your favourites and make an appointment to actually try on the dress – all with a click of a mouse.

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At Find Your Dream Wedding Dress you will discover the latest collections from: Alexia Designs,
Alfred Sung, Amanda Wyatt, Augusta Jones, Beautiful, Benjamin Roberts, Blue by Enzoani, Callista Bride,
Charlotte Balbier, Chic by Hollywood Dreams, Daisi Daisi, Decades by The Vintage Wedding Dress Company, Decorum Bride, Enzoani, Heritage, Hollywood Dreams, Impression Bridal, Intuzuri, Jim Hjelm Blush, Justin Alexander, Joyce Young by Storm, Madeline Isaac-James, Maggie Sottero, Mark Lesley, MDS by Margaret Moreland, Modeca, Mori Lee, MS Moda, Phil Collins, Private Label by G, Ritva Westenius, Romantica, Ronald Joyce, Rosa Couture, Sincerity, Sonsie by Veromia, Sottero & Midgley, Tara Keely, Terry Fox Couture, Tia, Trudy Lee, Venus, Veromia, Watters and Wtoo.

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Literally hours of dress gazing. Right there. 

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Go ahead and play.  And be prepared to come up for air three days later. 

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  – Images © 2012 Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog

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Because You’re Gorgeous! A Real Wedding – Lisa & Russell

November 10th, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: James Melia Photography

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Anddddd… its Thursday!  How in the bejeezus did that happen?  Its a good day people – just one more day to the weekend and an AMAZING Real Wedding to share with you on the wedding blog this morning, sent in by my wedding photographer friend the super talented – see for yourselves! – James Melia Photography

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Lisa and Russell’s Real Wedding is an absolute master class in understated elegance and almost has a French feel to it, such is the sophisticated and romantic vibe of their day. 

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C’est chic – Yorkshire style.  The best type of style that there is. 

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog: James Melia Photography

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The lovely Lisa, this morning’s bride, says:  We got engaged in the sea off the tiny island of Anti-Paxos in July 2009 and married on 10th September 2011 at All Souls’ Church in Leeds and then went on to the Angel Inn at Hetton. 

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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Russell attends All Souls’ church and we are both friends with the lovely vicar Alice Snowden. For the reception we chose the Angel Inn, where we’d been a couple of years before to celebrate Russell’s birthday. We knew it was the right place for our wedding reception: the food is out of this world, the staff friendly and accommodating and the atmosphere incredibly romantic. It was a dream location in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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We tried to pick things we loved rather than obsessing over whether things matched. In the end the colours sort of clustered around a natural, organic, or even wild palette: ivory, deep blue, dark green, teal, slate grey and so on.

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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I chose a Ritva Westenius dress from Amy Louise Bridal in Nantwich. It was quite 1950s in style but full length (I’m too short for tea-length style!).  My bridesmaids both picked their own dresses.  Jessica (20) wore a navy blue strapless dress from Coast. Lily (11) wore an ivory dress from BHS.

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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I carried a bouquet of ivory avalanche roses, ivory freesias, eryngium and eucalyptus by Leafy Couture in Otley.  

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Brides Up North: James Melia Photography

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The scene is perfectly set.  Keep reading for heaps more gorgeous. 

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Eye Candy: Ritva Westenius

June 1st, 2011 | Julia Braime

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Now then.  This is Eye Candy beyond my wildest bridal gown fantasies. 

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Introducing Ritva Westenius, an uber talented wedding dress designer who manages to combine high fashion silhouettes with ethereal elegance to create gowns that are out of this World.  Very, very, very, lovely.  I have died and gone to wedding blogger heaven!

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Ritva Westenius Baras Ritva Westenius Belgravia

Ritva Westenius Bloomsbury Ritva Westenius Chelsea

Ritva Westenius Con Amore Ritva Westenius Gorgeous

Ritva Westenius Kensington Ritva Westenius Marlene

Ritva Westenius Peony Ritva Westenius Viscountess

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To find a stockist in the North click here to visit the Ritva Westenius stockists page

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Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © Ritva Westenius

This is not a sponsored post

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier 

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